Prosecutor calls for national response to tackle sexual offences
Nickoy Wilson, Gleaner Writer
With sexual offences making up the bulk of court cases in rural parishes, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor is calling for more to be done to prevent these crimes.
"A lot of money has been put into stemming the flow of blood in murders, which cannot be complained against, but in terms of sexual offences, we are dealing with persons walking wounded, scars which cannot be seen, exploitation, especially of our children, in large numbers from Morant Bay in the east to Bloody Bay in the west. And perhaps [there] also needs to be some amount of policy initiative, national security-wise, as to how we deal with sexual offences," Taylor said.
The senior prosecutor was speaking this morning at the opening of the Easter term at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
"I've always marvelled that while in Kingston and St Andrew, murders may make up the bulk of the list, [in] parishes out of Kingston, it's sexual offences that make up the bulk of the list. Certainly, a neighbouring parish, St Catherine, has a high rate of sexual offences, reaching 50 to 60 per cent of matters on their list," Taylor said.
Sharing statistics on the recently concluded Hilary term of the Home Circuit Court, Taylor said that only 91 cases had been disposed of, with the remaining 1,024 being carried over to the Easter term, which began today.
For the new term, there have been 25 new committals.
"So this term, we have 1,049 matters to deal with between today and July 31, when the term ends. Not even Hercules and his 12 labourers, I think, can manage to deal with all the 1,049 matters in the period of time which we have been given. And maybe it is a time to rethink as to the way how we organise the whole circuit system," Taylor said.
Of that total, 545 are murders, while 203 are sexual offences.
He also said that 50 matters have been set for sentencing.